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  • Lethal White

  • A Cormoran Strike Novel
  • By: Robert Galbraith
  • Narrated by: Robert Glenister
  • Length: 22 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,799
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 6,442
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,409

When Billy, a troubled young man, comes to private eye Cormoran Strike's office to ask for his help investigating a crime he thinks he witnessed as a child, Strike is left deeply unsettled. While Billy is obviously mentally distressed, and cannot remember many concrete details, there is something sincere about him and his story. But before Strike can question him further, Billy bolts from his office in a panic. Trying to get to the bottom of Billy's story, Strike and Robin Ellacott - once his assistant, now a partner in the agency - set off on a twisting trail that leads them through the backstreets of London....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Best 22 hours of the last week

  • By Jennifer on 09-27-18

Great Addition to Great Series

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-05-18

This is a great series. And this book is the best so far. Rowling/Galbraith has created an unforgettable character in Cormoran Strike. He is unique, flawed, larger than life and yet believable. The mystery is slow to develop which is fine. So many times books like this start with the crime and the backstory is provided later in dribbles and bits. By the time the ultimate crime occurs in Lethal White, the reader "knows" the victim and the suspects, which allows the reader with enough information to try and figure out who did it with Strike. Plus, the Strike/Robin relationship moved forward which was great. I highly recommend!

  • Though the Heavens Fall

  • By: Anne Emery
  • Narrated by: Gerard Doyle
  • Length: 13 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 3

As 1995 dawns in the North of Ireland, Belfast is a city of army patrols, bombed-out buildings, and “peace walls” segregating one community from the other. But the IRA has called a ceasefire. So, it’s as good a time as any for Monty Collins and Father Brennan Burke to visit the city: Monty to do a short gig in a law firm, and Brennan to reconnect with family. And it’s a good time for Brennan’s cousin Ronan to lay down arms and campaign for election in a future peacetime government. But then a man goes off a bridge on a dark, lonely road; a rogue IRA enforcer is shot; and a series of car bombs remains an unsolved crime.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • I May Be Done With This Series

  • By Lulu on 12-05-18

I May Be Done With This Series

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-05-18

I am torn and frustrated after reading this book. Other than serious issues with a particular child character in the Collins-Burke mystery series by Emery, I have really enjoyed the series and fell a little in love with the very damaged, and very human priest, Brendon Burke. Monty Collins is there primarily for Burke to have a reason, as a priest, to be involved in solving mysteries. And this book focuses on Burke. Another plus is it takes place in Ulster near the end of the Troubles, a fascinating time. Plus, this book like the other book in the series set in Ireland instead of Nova Scotia is narrated by my favorite narrator, Gerard Doyle. I should have loved it. But I didn't.

The first three-quarters of the book deals with both the Collins family and Burke relocating to Ireland temporarily for work. There are a couple of plot lines going along, one that deals directly with the Troubles and one that deals indirectly with the Troubles. There are hints along the way that there is a connection but it isn't clear.

Then the last quarter of the book has an abrupt and surprising, at least to me, swerve in the plot and from there it goes downhill fast. A catastrophe occurs and neither Burke nor Collins handle it rationally in the way you would expect the characters to handle it. It is as if the characters and the relationship they've built over the previous 8 or 9 books suddenly takes an abrupt left turn and everything goes wrong. And that is how it ends. I think this is the first time Emery has ended a book with a cliffhanger. And it is a bad one. One that even if it is resolved in the next book, everything has to change and the characters can't believably go back to what they were before. I am usually OK with characters evolving and changing as a series progresses and OK with bad things happening to characters I care about. But this was jarring and seemed unnecessary. And the characters didn't handle the crisis or the clues leading up to it in a way they have in previous books.
Even though I know realistically that I will probably read the next book, if only to see how she fixes the mess, a big part of me is so frustrated by the end of this book, I'd like to drop the series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Bellewether

  • By: Susanna Kearsley
  • Narrated by: Tim Campbell, Sarah Mollo-Christensen, Megan Tusing
  • Length: 13 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 290
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 267
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 267

It's late summer, war is raging, and families are torn apart by divided loyalties and deadly secrets. In this complex and dangerous time, a young French Canadian lieutenant is captured and billeted with a Long Island family, an unwilling and unwelcome guest. As he begins to pitch in with the never-ending household tasks and farm chores, Jean-Philippe de Sabran finds himself drawn to the daughter of the house. Slowly, Lydia Wilde comes to lean on Jean-Philippe, true soldier and gentleman, until their lives become inextricably intertwined.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Loved it

  • By Daniel Donovan on 11-18-18

Enjoyable Book, A Little Long

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-05-18

Enjoyable Susanna Kearsley, I always enjoy how she weaves time periods together and moves seamlessly between the two yet manages not to be confusing. This was an interesting story with the historical section occurring during a time period that isn't frequently used in newer books - the seven years war. Narrators were OK. I usually don't care for multiple narrators but in this book I think it helped keep the period straight. Did go on a little too long though.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Every Secret Thing

  • By: Susanna Kearsley
  • Narrated by: Katherine Kellgren
  • Length: 13 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 477
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 443
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 433

No one lives forever. But the truth survives us all. Kate Murray is deeply troubled. In front of her lies a dead man, a stranger who only minutes before had approached her wanting to tell her about a mystery, a long-forgotten murder. The crime was old, he'd told her, but still deserving of justice. Soon Kate is caught up in a dangerous whirlwind of events that takes her back into her grandmother's mysterious war-time past and across the Atlantic as she tries to retrace the dead man's footsteps.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Liked the Book - But The Narrator Drove Me Nuts

  • By Mari on 01-12-17

Too Many Ribbons Tied Up in the End

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-05-18

This book focused more on solving the historical mystery at the heart of all of Kearsley's books and very little on the romance. All of her books center around a historical mystery, but there is usually a little more subtle romance involved. That was fine and fit the plot well since the main character was in physical danger and people around her were being murdered. The mystery at the heart of this was also more recent than most books, with the historical part occurring during World War II versus the 17th or 18th century. All of that was fine.

My problem with this book was that she tied too many of the coincidences up in the end. This wasn't about a single family or small town generations apart, it was about World War II and the millions of people affected by and the even larger world today, and yet, in the end, she'd pieced together how these very disparate people from all over the world happened to meet each other and connect over a 60 year span. How did a Canadian pilot shot down in France just happen to hook up with British intelligence personnel at an out of the way windmill outside of Lisbon, Portugal?

There was no reason to connect every single relationship. The story would have been fine. The mystery itself was fairly plausible, except she never explained why the British government was so happy to cover up a crime and continued to do so long after it made sense just to protect someone not worth protecting. But, what made it implausible was the author's attempt at synchronicity.

As far as the narration of this audiobook goes, I am a big fan of the late Kathrine Kellgren - but it has to be the right book. She is perfect on the campy Royal Spyness mysteries. But there were a couple of times on this book that she got way too dramatic, stopped narrating and started (poorly) acting. That didn't help.

  • The Art of Inheriting Secrets

  • A Novel
  • By: Barbara O'Neal
  • Narrated by: Stina Nielsen
  • Length: 12 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 281
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 220
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 217

When Olivia Shaw’s mother dies, the sophisticated food editor is astonished to learn she’s inherited a centuries-old English estate - and a title to go with it. Raw with grief and reeling from the knowledge that her reserved mother hid something so momentous, Olivia leaves San Francisco and crosses the pond to unravel the mystery of a lifetime. One glance at the breathtaking Rosemere Priory and Olivia understands why the manor, magnificent even in disrepair, was the subject of her mother’s exquisite paintings. What she doesn’t understand is why her mother never mentioned it to her.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Great narration, horrible story.

  • By Debbie on 07-24-18

A Departure from Recent Work - Good but ...

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-03-18

I have become a big fan of Barbara O'Neal/Barbara Samuel. I thought each book was slightly better than the previous book and I loved her focus on the southwest, food, and friendship. This book was a real switch to me. More gothic, set in England, still with a focus on food but not so much on friendship. It was an enjoyable read but didn't seem nearly as authentic or plausible as her previous books. The reader has to really stretch their ability to accept the unacceptable for this storyline to be remotely plausible. For someone so distressed over her mother's death and who was supposedly quite close to her, the mom seemed to have been very busy behind the daughter's back.

However, although I felt there were some disconnects, some loose ends that were never tied up and the author was clearly outside her element, this was still an enjoyable book.

  • Being Mortal

  • Medicine and What Matters in the End
  • By: Atul Gawande
  • Narrated by: Robert Petkoff
  • Length: 9 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 7,764
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 6,811
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,800

In Being Mortal, bestselling author Atul Gawande tackles the hardest challenge of his profession: how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending. Medicine has triumphed in modern times, transforming birth, injury, and infectious disease from harrowing to manageable. But in the inevitable condition of aging and death, the goals of medicine seem too frequently to run counter to the interest of the human spirit.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Required Reading!

  • By Jeffrey on 10-13-14

Important Message, Beautifully Delivered

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-03-18

I was hesitant to read this book as someone who still feels scarred and angry about the options available to my dad and step-mother as they faced the end of their lives and it has been over 3 years since they died. I came out of that experience vowing to never see a doctor again since I was approaching the age where there is a pill for everything, where people seem to spend at least 50% of their time sitting in Drs. waiting rooms and our value to society is merely to feed the healthcare monster. To me healthcare, after a certain age is a very slippery slope.

I was very glad that Gawande appreciates the terrible problems with end-of-life care, was happy to read of alternatives starting to be available and was very appreciative of his words about determining what is the bottom line that makes existence palatable. The idea of knowing ahead what you must have at a minimum in order to have a life worth living, whether it is time, freedom from pain, the ability to eat, or some other benchmark is a remarkable idea and very helpful.

The writing was clear and concise. It was sad, but not morbid and not sentimental. The narration was wonderful. I highly recommend

  • Dawn on a Distant Shore

  • By: Sara Donati
  • Narrated by: Kate Reading
  • Length: 20 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,971
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,704
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,702

Elizabeth and Nathaniel Bonner have settled into their life together at the edge of the New-York wilderness in the winter of 1794. But soon after Elizabeth gives birth to healthy twins, Nathaniel learns that his father has been arrested in British Canada. Forced to leave Hidden Wolf Mountain to help his father in Montreal, Nathaniel himself is imprisoned and in danger of being hanged as a spy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great great great

  • By I like to shop on 05-10-16

Still Searching for Originality

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-05-18

I almost reluctantly read this book. I was not a fan of the first book in the series, although I finished it. There were moments it was pretty good, but much of it wasn't. However, there was some kernel within the story that drew me in and made me invest the time to finish it and start this 2nd book in the series.

Even though the characters from Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series are not mentioned in this book, as they were in the first, there was no logical reason to move much of the plot to Scotland, include a perilous sea voyage with the main characters separated on two different ships, include treacherous pirates, etc. Except that each of these themes seemed to be popular in the Outlander series.

This book was actually slightly better written and the characters more developed. However, I didn't like it as much as I did the previous book and that is saying something. I think what I disliked the most was the fact that it seemed totally unconnected to the first book and almost shameless in its attempt to attract a specific audience. I would have stopped here, but I read the synopsis of Queen of Swords, a later book in the series and it intrigued me.

  • Into the Wilderness

  • A Novel
  • By: Sara Donati
  • Narrated by: Kate Reading
  • Length: 30 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,314
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,805
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,811

Weaving a vibrant tapestry of fact and fiction, Into the Wilderness sweeps us into another time and place...and into the heart of a forbidden, incandescent affair between a spinster Englishwoman and an American frontiersman. Here is an epic of romance and history that will captivate readers from the start.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful surprise

  • By I like to shop on 04-26-16

Only Worth Reading for Background on Future Books

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-05-18

I tried to read this book a few years ago. I quit because it seemed to be so unoriginal and blatantly commercial. The author borrowed one of her primary characters from James Fenimore Cooper's "Last of the Mohicans" and also brought in characters from Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, all of which said to me that the author was so unsure of her own ability to write a book people would like on its own merits, that she resorted to gimmicks to attract an audience. And as I read a little about the author, including her own words from her own website, I read nothing that convinced me her book was nothing more than an attempt to capitalize on others success. She seemed to have a real chip on her shoulder about other's success.

However, several months ago I purchased "The Gilded Hour" because the time period attracted me and I failed to note the author until I'd already purchased. I read it anyway and was pleasantly surprised. This made me decide to give her earlier series another chance. Especially because "The Gilded Hour" follows a later generation of the characters in "Into the Wilderness."

This time I made it through. "Into the Wilderness" is not a great book. There are moments when it is good. Much of the storyline makes little sense or is implausible at best, and her historical research is weak. Donati tries too hard in this book. And she fails to follow the one rule that is critical when you are at the beginning of a long book that is part of a longer series following the same characters. You have to take the time for the reader to get to know the characters as themselves. And you can't do this when they are thrown from crisis to crisis and constantly in danger from somewhere. There needs to be some downtime, where they lead normal lives without catastrophe hovering about. My guess is it is hard to write that kind of scene into a book and make it interesting to the reader, but good writers of sagas do it well. Donati did not.

Nevertheless, there was something appealing about the book and I not only finished it, I moved on and read the rest of the series. I was very happy that I did.

  • A Man Called Ove

  • By: Fredrik Backman
  • Narrated by: George Newbern
  • Length: 9 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 62,115
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 56,831
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 56,728

Meet Ove. He's a curmudgeon - the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him "the bitter neighbor from hell". But behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I Laughed and I Cried

  • By Bill on 08-22-15

Shockingly Surprised

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-05-18

I put off reading this book because I was certain I would not like it. I do not like curmudgeons or books about curmudgeons. It sounded as if it had very little plot and even less action. The story sounded sad and depressing. But mainly I didn't read it because so many people recommended it and I usually hate books that everybody loves.

I was wrong. Great book. Hysterically funny in parts. The cat is one of the most underrated characters in modern fiction. Ove is the poster child of curmudgeons, but that is somehow OK. I laughed. I cried. Read it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Book of Essie

  • A Novel
  • By: Meghan MacLean Weir
  • Narrated by: Robbie Daymond, Tara Sands, Erin Spencer
  • Length: 11 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 520
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 490
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 489

Esther Ann Hicks - Essie - is the youngest child on Six for Hicks, a reality television phenomenon. She's grown up in the spotlight, both idolized and despised for her family's fire-and-brimstone brand of faith. When Essie's mother, Celia, discovers that Essie is pregnant, she arranges an emergency meeting with the show's producers: Do they sneak Essie out of the country for an abortion? Do they pass the child off as Celia's? Or do they try to arrange a marriage - and a ratings-blockbuster wedding? 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Hope for the future 💗

  • By Amazon Customer on 06-23-18

More Believable than the Blurb Led Me to Believe

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-05-18

Very interesting book with several twists and turns I didn't expect. There were some slow patches, especially in the Libby Bell sections, but overall the plot was tight and moved smoothly. The main characters were sympathetic and the villains were sufficiently villainous. Essie's sometimes detachment about her situation and the terrible things done to here was at first unbelievable, but then the author skillfully made it a coping method. I wish there had been a little more information at the end. What happened to Essie's parents, their TV show, fortune, church? But wanting more at the end of a book is a sign the reader is committed to the book, so that's a good thing.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful